Last Updated: November 20, 2020
Rabbit meat is consumed all over the world in soups, stews, barbecue, or as a roast. Rabbits are relatively easy to raise, and their overall maintenance tends to be economical.
Raising rabbits for food has many benefits. Rabbit is considered a white meat and has minimal fat content. It’s also low in calories and cholesterol-free. Compared to other meats, rabbit has less sodium and contains a higher amount of metabolism, boasting phosphorus and calcium.
To successfully raise rabbits for their meat on your homestead, you need to make sure you choose the correct breed. Not all rabbit breeds are suitable for consumption. We’ve listed the 10 best meat rabbits in the world and included important information about each breed’s capability as a meat producer.
1. New Zealand Rabbits
The New Zealand rabbit breed is by far the most common and the most popular meat rabbit. It’s estimated that 90% of the rabbits raised for meat are New Zealand rabbits. One reason may be that this rabbit breed puts on weight quickly and has an exceptional meat-to-bone ratio. New Zealand rabbits grow rapidly as well. By 8 weeks old, kits have reached 8 pounds, with adults maturing to 9 to 12 pounds. Despite their name, the New Zealand rabbit actually originated in America and dates to the early 1900s. They are an ideal meat rabbit for backyard homesteaders.
2. California Rabbits
As the second most popular meat-producing breed in the world, the California rabbit weighs between 8 to 12 pounds. While considered a fancy breed raised for their fur, as a meat rabbit, this breed is stocky and fast growing. When harvested, they supply a good production of meat. The California rabbit breed tends to have a gentle disposition, making them easier to raise. They are a crossbreed between Chinchilla rabbits and New Zealand Whites.
3. American Chinchilla Rabbits
The American Chinchilla rabbit breed is considered a dual-purpose rabbit, as they’re used for both their meat and their fur. With a stocky body and a weight of up to 12 pounds, they’re considered one of the best meat rabbit breeds in the world. The American Chinchilla rabbit is often sought for their high-quality deep loin and broad shoulder, which can be found in a variety of smoked and cooked dishes from many different countries. Due to their popularity, the American Chinchilla is listed as endangered.
4. Champagne D’Argent
Considered by some as the “Black Angus” of rabbit meats, the Champagne D Argent rabbit meat is highly regarded all over the world. This rabbit breed has been used for meat since 1631. They originated in the French town of Champagne. The second part of their name, D’Argent, translates to silver, which describes their fur. Full-grown, the Champagne D’Argent weighs about 9 pounds. As a meat rabbit, this breed has a good meat-to-bone ratio. Champagne D’Argent is perfect for homestead living as a great starter rabbit. They can be raised for both fur and meat.
5. Silver Fox Rabbits
A favorite among homesteaders, the Silver Fox rabbit breed can be used for multiple purposes. Considered a “fancy breed,” the Silver Fox rabbit is known for its fur. As a meat rabbit, they can weigh between 10 and 12 pounds. With a temperament well-suited as a pet, they’re easy to handle for breeding and raising as well. Unfortunately, the Silver Fox rabbit breed is difficult to find. Since they’re a rarity, you can profit better from breeding and selling offspring.
6. Satin Rabbits
The Satin rabbit breed is one of the larger and heavier breeds of rabbit weighing about 12 pounds fully grown. With a broader build, it’s no surprise that Satin rabbits produce a fair amount of meat. They’re an ideal rabbit to raise for meat on a homestead. Satins are a cold, hardy meat rabbit. They have a calm and docile temperament.
7. Cinnamon Rabbits
This is a crossbreed between the New Zealand White and American Chinchilla. Acting as a meat producer was not the original intent during the development of this rabbit breed. However, with a mature weight of up to 11 pounds, the Cinnamon rabbit breed can provide a high quantity of meat, including commercially. Named for their red color, the Cinnamon rabbit breed is also valued for their fur and kept as pets. However, Cinnamon rabbits are difficult to find.
8. Standard Rex
While on the smaller size for a meat rabbit at 8 to 10 pounds, the Standard Rex still produces a useful quantity of meat. They’re ideal for a more modest homestead. Developed in France in 1919, the Standard Rex is best known as a fur rabbit due to their coat having a velvety texture. Their docile temperaments also make for good pets.
9. Palomino Rabbits
The Palomino rabbit breed is bred for meat both commercially and on the homestead. A popular choice as a meat rabbit for decades, the Palomino rabbit breed reaches a mature weight of eight to 11 pounds. They offer a good meat ratio and tend to be a wonderful meat producer. While raising Palomino rabbits is relatively easy due to their good temperament, this rabbit breed requires patience, as they grow a bit slower than other meat rabbits.
10. Florida White Rabbits
Described as an “all purpose” breed, the Florida White rabbit breed is an ideal meat producer for small homesteads, feeding only one to two people with limited space. On the smaller side for a meat rabbit, Florida White rabbits weigh only between 6 and 8 pounds. They make up for their less-than-robust size by being light in bone structure. With a generally calm temperament, the Florida White rabbit breed is a great choice for novice rabbit raisers.
Feature Image Credit: Itay Kabalo, Unsplash
An avid animal lover, Roland started this blog to help all varieties of pets and their owners on their journey to living their best lives.